Does your dog have a rebarkable love for running towards any body of water in sight? Does your dog have a proclivity for making appaws-worthy dives into the lake by your home? Or, have you noticed your favorite tail-wagger bolts away from water as if it were the scariest monster to ever exist? Every dog is unique – and that includes whether or not they enjoy getting wet. But, the real question is, are all dogs born with the natural ability to swim?
Can All Dogs Naturally Swim?
Not All Breeds Are Natural Swimmers
Every breed is different when it comes to the ability to swim – regardless of whether or not your dog puggin’ loves the water. However, for the safety and well-being of your dog it’s imperative to teach your fur-friend swimming skills. This way they are comfortable around water at the very least, and your backyard pool or beach house doesn’t become a source of anxiety for them.
According to Michele Godlevski, a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, NADD Dock Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and owner of Teamworks Dog Training in North Carolina: “Some breeds seem to know how to swim from the moment they see a body of water whereas others just don’t see the point of swimming.”
Typically you can look into the traditional role of a breed to gauge whether or not they are naturally drawn to water. Labrador Retrievers, for example, were bred to assist hunters in retrieving water birds. Irish Water Spaniels and Portuguese Water Dogs were also created to perform water-related work with fisherman, and thus don thick, waterproof coats. There are other breeds, however, where physiological elements cause them to struggle with swimming. These include breeds like short-legged breeds (dachshunds, corgis, basset hounds, etc.) and top-heavy “brachy” breeds (Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, etc.)
Teaching your dog to Swim
If your BFF is able-bodied but demonstrates a clear reluctance to the water, the best course of action is to get into the water first (a.k.a don’t be shy – show your pup there’s nothing to fear). Go slow and make sure to start out in shallow water. With any type of training, ensure you furnish your pooch with an abundance of affection and praise (and treats!).
I recommend always starting out with a life jacket to ensure you’re creating an environment where safety is prioritized. The goal is to create a fun – not scary – atmosphere, and fitting your pooch with a comfy doggie life vest is an effective way to build a safe space. Additionally, a lift vest will instill your pup with confidence as they begin paddling their way through the water.
It’s also important to note, never just toss your pawfect pup in the water. Instead, work slowly, enticing your dog into the water using toys or play. You want to encourage your pup to choose to splash around in the water (versus making them feel forced).
Swim Gear Designed for a Fur-bulous Time
There are a ton of options available when it comes to selecting a life jacket for your pup, like the Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket. For optimal safety, try grabbing a life vest that features things like a built-in handle and reflective stripes. Once that’s checked off your list, consider picking up a few toys to ensure your water-filled afternoon is replete with fun! The Hyper Pet Flippy Flopper Dog Frisbee, for example, is durable, safe, and floats on water.
Ready to keep calm and float on!? We’d love to hear all about your swim-related stories. Share with us in the comments below!